6,000 Schoolchildren Screaming “No!”

“Nancy Reagan brought her anti-drug campaign to Los Angeles Wednesday, joining thousands of screaming schoolchildren in a rally to ‘Just Say No’ to drugs.

About 6,000 children from area schools, the majority wearing green ‘Just Say No’ T-shirts, waved green flags and cheered performers and speakers alike throughout the two-hour rally at Universal Amphitheatre.

The First Lady joined country and western singer Larry Gatlin, child actress Soleil Moon Frye and other young stars of television’s Punky Brewster Show, C. B. Barnes of Starman as well as Voyager pilots Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager for the event, which was part of a national ‘Just Say No’ Week…

…’Positive peer pressure works,’ Mrs. Reagan, who is honorary chairman of The Just Say No Foundation, told the youngsters. ‘We want you to stay just like you are. You’re our hope and our promise for the future.’

‘I’m lucky I’m here,’ Gatlin told the crowd before he sang a song he wrote about a drug addict who killed himself. ‘Drugs and alcohol nearly killed me.’

Three years ago, he added, ‘I was crawling around the floor picking up lint out of the carpet, putting it in a free-base pot.’ Now, he said, he has been off drugs and alcohol for ‘882 days.’

‘We can put blockades up, we can arrest people,’ pilot Rutan said, ‘but there’s only one way you’re surely going to stop drugs, and that’s supply and demand. Stop the demand and we won’t have to worry about the supply.’

‘I’m glad I’m here because of my awareness of drugs,’ said Danielle Walsmith, 12, a student at Castlemont School in Tarzana, then added, ‘and I really want to see Soleil Moon Frye.’

‘So, we’ll practice,’  Mrs. Reagan said. ‘What will you do if somebody offers you drugs?’

‘Noooo! Just say noooo!’ the children responded, delightedly yelling it again and again when the First Lady cupped a hand to her ear, pretending that she could not hear them.”

6,000 Echo First Lady’s ‘Just Say No’ May 14, 1987, Penelope McMillan, Times Staff Writer.